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Scand J Infect Dis. 2010 Jul;42(6-7):412-20. doi: 10.3109/00365541003699649.

Novel (pandemic) influenza A H1N1 in healthcare facilities: implications for prevention and control.

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  • 1Department for Interventions in Healthcare Facilities, Hellenic Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Athens, Greece.


In April 2009 a novel (pandemic) influenza A H1N1 virus was identified in Mexico and the USA and spread throughout the world over a short period of time. Although the virulence of novel influenza was no greater than that of seasonal influenza, a major patient load and wave of admissions were faced. There are few evidence-based data available to guide infection control measures for novel influenza, however what is clear is that the novel virus is a very efficient agent for rapid spread and onset of outbreaks in healthcare settings. There are few reports on the nosocomial transmission of novel influenza, however outbreaks with severe morbidity and mortality may occur among high-risk groups. Last y efforts were made in several countries to build infection control capacity in healthcare facilities and to improve employee and patient safety. Adherence of healthcare workers to recommendations for vaccination against novel influenza and the use of personal protective equipment are emerging as major obstacles in achieving this goal. The use of N95 respirators instead of surgical masks for all close contacts, as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and in contrast with recommendations for seasonal influenza, is a major shift in everyday practice.

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